The Basics of Bullying
Growing up is a time of exploration, learning and play. Children should be able to experience this time without being bullied. Bullying is behavior meant to hurt or humiliate an individual; the intention of bullying is to harm someone, either physically or emotionally. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, bullying can occur at school, in the community or even online.1 Nationwide, about 20% of students age 12-18 experience bullying, while 19% of students in grades 9-12 report being bullied on school property, according to stopbullying.gov.2 Students reporting on bullying say it occurs in many different locations on campus property and online. A U.S. Department of Education report finds that in school, more girls than boys report being bullied, and since the launch of bullying education programs, bullying has decreased by 25%.3
National Attention on Bullying
This topic has attracted national attention. The effects of adolescent bullying have an impact on an individual’s mental health in adulthood. There is no one type of individual who is bullied, and no one type of individual who bullies others. Stopbullying.gov notes that individuals with the following indicators might be at higher risk of being bullied:4
- They are perceived differently from their peers.
- They seem weak or unable to defend themselves.
- They appear to be depressed or anxious or to possess low self-esteem.
- They are less popular with classmates.
- They do not get along well with others.
Students who are likely to bully others come from two diverse backgrounds: individuals who are well-connected to their peers and considered popular; and individuals isolated from peers who may be depressed or anxious, may demonstrate low self-esteem and are less involved or engaged in school and school-related activities than their peers. Understanding these common traits fosters an effective approach to handling a bullying threat.
Stopping Bullying on the Playground
Pediatric nurse practitioners are responsible for educating children and parents about bullying and discussing a plan if children are bullied. Effective interventions include role-playing and offering specific, time-tested responses for children to put into practice. These strategies empower children and parents to recognize that they do not have to be victims of bullying. Educating a child to walk away from a threat when possible and locate an adult for assistance is a better plan than encouraging the child to fight back as a default reaction, since fighting back only fuels the bullying behavior and might cause harm.
Providing an action plan to students and parents is the best way to combat bullying. When children are taught to appreciate differences and respect individuals, tolerance and acceptance can grow. For children to learn best behaviors, adults should be positive role models by mentoring them and incorporating age-appropriate approaches to teaching kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Be proactive and make an impact by preventing bullying. Empowering potential victims with education and role modeling opens the door to a safer environment and an inclusive society.
The rewarding work of a Nurse Practitioner begins with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Grand Canyon University. To learn more about the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, click on the Request Information button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.